BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett. Sonnets from the Portuguese. Published for the Medici Society, by Philip Lee Warner, 1914.
Small 4to., half blue calf over decorative floral patterned boards, ruled in gilt, with two raised bands and lettering direct to spine; upper edge gilt; printed on handmade paper by the Riccardi Press; pp. [ii], 27 [vii]; a little creasing along spine and slight rubbing to edges of patterned boards; very marginal offsetting to end papers, otherwise an extremely attractive copy.
First edition thus. One of the Riccardi Press Booklets. No. 325 of 350 copies, specially bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
This, a collecton of 44 love sonnets, was one of Browning's most famous works. Initially reluctant to publish them because she thought they might be too personal, she was persuaded at the advice of her husband, who claimed that 'they were the best sequence of English-language sonnets since Shakespeare'. To offer the couple some privacy, she decided to publish them as if they were translations of foreign sonnets, initially planning to title the collection 'Sonnets translated from the Bosnian', before her husband once again proposed that she claim their source was Portuguese, most likely because of his nickname for her: 'my little Portuguese'.